Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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Hill Top as reviewed by our resident Beatrix Potter expert, my 7-year-old daughter:
A long time ago, I thought that Beatrix Potter had only written the book on Peter Rabbit. But then on our visit on the Isle of Scalpay, I discovered the whole series on a bookshelf. A whole series of books by Beatrix Potter about live animals! It was as though they were alive in books, wearing clothes and being cute. I became very interested in the books and read all of them.
Well, almost all of them. We didn’t stay long enough for me to finish but I wanted to read more.
While in the Lake District with my family, we visited Hill Top, the house and garden of Beatrix Potter managed by the National Trust. We got our tickets and before the tour started, I ate a chocolate ice cream from the ice cream freezer in front of the shop. My sister picked strawberry flavor. Yum!
Visiting the house was really fun because when we went inside, an old woman gave me a little book to read. My sister got one too. It was The Tale of Samuel Whiskers. I opened the book and the old woman showed me that there were images that were the same thing as the room where we were. The furniture, the carpets, the rooms were the same. The house had been the inspiration of the little books! I always thought Beatrix Potter made everything up but no, she inspired herself from her own house. Funny!
Upstairs, I found a doll house next to a little book opened on the page where the doll house appears. I knew the book, I knew that story! My mom didn’t so I told her about The Two Bad Mice and how two mean mice go into a doll house and break and steal some things. But they want to be forgiven so their mom comes to clean up and the mice give little gifts in small stockings for the dolls’ Christmas. It was the same doll house with fake food, the bedrooms, even the small dolls. I recognized everything.
Then we went into the garden where I followed a “letter” treasure hunt with little piglets. Each piglet – not real piglets – had a sign with a letter and in other places, there were letters too. The treasure hunt asked children to find the letters and put them together to find a name. My sister and I found the name – it was Pig-Wig from The Tale of Pigling Bland – and we both got a sticker in the shop. I also found wooden rabbits and they reminded me of the rabbits in The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies because there were so many rabbits – maybe six or seven? Normally there are 12 flopsy bunnies.
And the vegetable garden? It’s the vegetable patch of Mr. McGregor in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. I didn’t look for carrots but there must have been radishes and parsley, I’m sure, because that’s how Peter bumps into Mr. McGregor because he has a tummy ache and chews on parsley.
Then, the sheep in front of the house. Seriously, they’re not part of the books. I haven’t read a single Beatrix Potter story with sheep. They were there for decoration, I know it. They were so cute, it didn’t matter. I like lambs and sheep. I asked my mom that we not go to restaurants where they serve lamb that day because I like them very much. I ate veggies instead.
If you ask, Hill Top is a house I’d like to live in. It’s cute and surrounded by nature. The garden is really big and beautiful and I like the sheep too. To parents with children, I’d really recommend going if you visit the Lake District because I loved it. And the ice cream was good too so you can eat an ice cream before or after the visit. All children like ice cream, yes?
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